Some Walton County parents upset by tenets of Islam being taught in World History 

Some parents in Walton County are mobilizing to take on how they believe world history is teaching religion to students in the Walton County Public School system, in particular the religion of Islam.

A Facebook page on the subject is quickly gaining momentum and a petition drive has been started, titled Walton County – Petition to opt out of religious teaching. The petition, addressed to Georgia Public Schools, asks that parents be given a listing of all parts of the curriculum that teaches about religion in all cases and in all grades, and that a way be devised that enables parents to opt out of the curriculum that teaches religions views contradictory to the student’s particular religion.

Up until now, officials with WCPS said they have only received two calls that they are aware of that addresses this particular issue.

“Teachers, school, and district administrators are happy to discuss concerns with parents about their student or questions about the curriculum,” WCPS spokesperson Kim Embry said.

The parents who are concerned, however, are taking a group approach to the issue.

“I have three wonderful sons that attend Youth Elementary and Youth Middle School,” said Heather Kuykendall. “My husband is the pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, GA. Our children attended a Christian school until 2012. We felt at ease allowing our children to attend Youth Elementary and Youth Middle School… until now.”

Kuykendall went on to say that she has just recently become aware of the issue related to the possibility of Islam being taught in the public schools and has now become one of the members of the Facebook page titled “Walton County School’s Islamic Curriculum.” Kuykendall said she understands that a general history of world religions is being taught, but she has been hearing things that have her very concerned. Parents of some of the students in WCPS are reporting that some students have brought home school material claiming that “Allah is all knowing and powerful and created the universe” and another said that a student had to bears witness “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”

Walton County parents are not the first to raise objections to religion being taught in school through the Common Core curriculum. In fact, there have been similar instances nationwide. A parent reportedly pulled his son out of school in Los Angeles in November last year, as reported by KTLA TV, and earlier this month a similar incident in Tennessee was reported on shoebat.com.

Officials with WCPS, however, say this curriculum is not anything new as a result of Common Core and has been in place for several years.

“The Social Studies standards for middle school have been in place for nine years. They are Georgia Performance Standards and were in place before common core was adopted,” said Rusty Linder, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “The standards teach students about world cultures including history, geography, climates, languages, education, traditions, religions, and systems of governance. Students learn that the forces which shape culture have an impact which is relevant to them today.”

Parents in Walton County are making plans to address their concerns with the Walton County Board of Education in October as a first step. The long term plan is to ask the state to formalize a way where parents who have strong objections to their students being taught any doctrine from another religion can opt out of this portion of the curriculum. Kuykendall’s husband, who is a pastor, said asking students to learn, according to the Muslim faith, that Allah is the one true God, is equivalent to asking students to learn that, from the Christian faith perspective, the God of the Bible is the Only God of Creation and faith in His Son Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation from sin.

Many of the parents commenting in the Facebook page say that they don’t have a problem with the type of religion practiced being taught as part of a culture that the students are learning about, but object to teaching students at a middle school age the tenets of the actual belief system. Steve Alsup, who has two children in high school and one in middle school, said he feels that the whole truth is not being taught. He feels that if Islam is being taught, then he believes the radical side of Islam also should be taught.

“The information I’ve seen from what my daughter was learning about Islam was simply half the truth, which is a whole lie in my opinion. If they’re going to learn about Islam, then teach the whole truth, not some watered down version,” Alsup said. “I dont have any qualms with anyone’s other beliefs. If you choose to follow Mohammed/Islam, that’s your business and right. If you choose to follow Jesus/Christianity, then that’s your right as well. With that being said, our ‘public’ school teachers have no right to teach what’s being called ‘history’ to our children. All religions- Islam, Christianity etc…all share one thing and that’s – faith.  I personally have faith in Jesus Christ, which makes me a Christian. That being said, I definitely do not want any teacher that doesn’t share my same beliefs teaching my children about Christianity. It’s not a history lesson! I’m sure a Muslim would not want a Christian teaching their children about Islam.”

Embry shared some of the Sixth Grade curriculum under the Georgia Performance Standards covering “Europe Today.” In it students are required to learn the diversity of European culture as it applies to languages, religions and literacy rates. In the bigger picture, they are required to describe the cultural characteristics of Europe, compare the different cultures including the major religions, which include Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Students are expected to understand that the culture of a society is shaped by its religion, customs, traditions and government. It requires that students learn the basic tenets of each religion, holy days, holy books and houses of worship, founders and primary European location of each monotheistic religion.

In Seventh Grade, students cover similar topics in “The Modern Middle East.” In covering the subject at that level, students again focus on some of the religions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They also learn about the historical reasons for the 1948 establishment of Israel, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and Zionism in Europe. The major religions and beliefs are taught as part of the culture.

There are many parents who do not have a problem with the way World History is being taught. Loganville resident Lori Duff, whose family is Jewish, said neither she nor her children have a problem with it at all. She said her son, who is in eighth grade, has already covered the material and she has a daughter about to cover it as well.

“Information is power, and I am not so insecure in my faith that learning about another in a multicultural society threatens it,” Duff said.”The more my kids know about other religions and cultures, the more they will be able to succeed in an increasingly international workforce.”

Monroe resident Chrystal Carter said that, after looking into it, she doesn’t think there is as much to worry about as people seem to think.

“I don’t have any concerns about other religions being taught to middle school and high school age children,” Carter said. “I think it’s important for them to learn about other cultures’ beliefs as long as they aren’t  forcing children to pray or worship to another God.”

But, like some of the other parents who have expressed concern, Alsup said he would like to see the schools stop teaching children with “young, impressionable minds,” about religion completely. He said he plans on joining the other parents at the October Board of Education meeting.

 

About Sharon Swanepoel 2641 Articles
Sharon Swanepoel is the Publisher and Editor of Your Local News, which includes Loganville Local News, Monroe Local News and Walton Living Magazine.
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  • Ryan

    This is islamic doctrine and not appropriate for a 7th grader to be learning under the guise of History.

    • Lisa

      I agree. In addition, it is PROPAGANDA. This is how government gets citizens to believe what they want them to- by indoctrinating them slowly and through education, such as this. It is not appropriate in school- for ANY religion to be taught. That is to be done at home and in church.

    • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

      Notice that the phrase is in quotes – which means he is quoting someone else and not actually bearing witness. Are you so closed minded that you fear anything other than Christianity?

  • Shadow Girl

    I think it is ok because not understanding different beliefs often lead to prejudice . This country was founded on freedom of religion and not understanding different religions creates fear and prejudice. We have to accept that this country was founded by people from all over the world and that in order to live peacefully with one another we must understand and respect each other and if you teach your children at home what your beliefs are then a social study class will not change or confuse them but will hopefully teach them tolerance and understanding of all people and will in turn create a more peaceful society. Yes I am a christian and was born and raised in GA as were my parents and at some point our past family members came here from England,Germany and Ireland and one was a true citizen of American,they were Cherokee Indian.

    • Lisa

      Shadow Girl- the problem, as I’ve posted before, is that it has NO place in public schools. Freedom of religion means you can worship your God- or WHATEVER, in your private place of worship, but NOT in a public school. The problem is that civic is no longer being taught in schools and no one knows their constitution anymore! I would say, you don’t either, by the tone of your note above.

      • Shadow Girl

        Lisa ,I actually have a BA in constitutional law and this way of thinking may be the reason that so many parents are turning to private education. There is a difference in worshipping and learning the differences. We would have to quit civics as well as history in schools especially ancient history in order to avoid any discussion about any religions/ I would guess that your one that screams if the pledge of allegiance is banned from schools because of the one line ,One Nation Under God. God goes by many different names and if you are well read you too would know that it is the same God. It is hard to take a stand of tolerance and understanding but keeping our children ignorant will not be bliss for them in today’s world. I was taught in a public school about the Jewish when we studied WW2 it was taught as a fact and cause they could not have disregarded that very important bit of information . Maybe I am an idiot for thinking we could possibly expose our children to differences without being afraid,and that the beliefs we instill in our children will hold true even if they learn about people that call God by a different name.

        • FlaGuy

          No, Shadow Girl, you are not an idiot for thinking what you think. These morons who are pushing to keep their kids just as ignorant as they are, are the real idiots. I am so sick and tired of people like Lisa acting as if they know something. She keeps screaming about how its unconstitutional and yet it’s clearly not. I wonder how many of these parents will tell their kids to stop doing algebra. After all, it was invented by Muslims. Also, the numbers 0-9 were invented by Arabs. They are literally called Arab numerals. Maybe these people will stop using numbers as well?

          • Lisa

            FlaGuy and Shadow Girl-

            No, I agree with you, except the “idiot” part. Why do people have to resort to calling people names in these forums?

            I am a full-time teacher. It is NOT the pledge (I have students say it each morning as this is OUR country and I believe in being proud of it. I do not disagree with discussing the historical aspects of the world. My issue is teaching RELIGION, not what a religion is about. Also, are our books still teaching why the Crusades did what they did? The Muslims took over (see article http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/mayweb-only/52.0.html), or the fact that Muslims were a constant threat in Europe, especially Spain in the Iberian Peninsula (Wikipedia did a pretty good job of it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Muslim_presence_in_the_Iberian_Peninsula)had a strangle-hold over the eastern caravan routes, causing the Spanish to have to look for new trade routes. None of this is new. My issue is that religion, not teaching about HISTORY, should be confined to homes, churches, synagogues, etc. I am from Hawaii and the Japanese had Japanese school (I went to the Hongwangi

            Also, if we don’t watch out, we won’t have a true American culture in the USA anymore. This has been happening in Europe now for roughly a half a century, to where there are now about 20 million Muslims in Europe and appx 4 million currently in the USA. It is a fact that MOST Muslims do not assimilate in the countries they move to. Our country has had problems, but we have been the moral compass for hundreds of years now. If we change everything about the USA, then what got our country to where it was to have this impact on other countries will discontinue. It is essential to have a common cultural practices in our country, including in education. Otherwise, we will have the same Balkanisation issues that other countries have encountered because of lack of essential cultural practices and in education (http://justintadlock.com/writing/decline-of-cultural-literacy-and-the-educational-systems-responsibility). Furthermore, it is important to maintain a town’s own regional history and practices, which includes school boards that reflect the wishes of the population that is the majority and tax base.

          • Shadow Girl

            These facts about Muslims not assimilate to countries they move to were facts gathered by whom and would this apply to the Jewish community in our country that still hold real estate and financial holdings in Israel or shall we forget the Catholics in the early years of our country and the treatment they received. You could come up with a STUDY on anything to justify peoples thought and prejudices. I appreciate your thoughts and respect your beliefs .I lived in Germany before and after the wall and the people adjusted well and I would defend our Constitution to the bitter end. My husband was in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat so I understand why people fear Muslims but it is a small few that have all the power to invoke fear in us Christians and as a free democracy we should render them impotent by embracing the ones that come here for a better life without fear and not shunn them because of there beliefs.Again I do not condone worship in public schools but,knowledge is power and understanding is a basis for peace. Hey I’m pleased that this whole mess opened up dialog and I wish people would talk about it. These are troubling times we live in and we can maintain a place’s history and beliefs while embracing change. There is not any American that does not have ancestors that came here for a better life or to escape persecution because of their religion or beliefs other than the American Indians and African Americans whom were initially brought against their will. At that I must close this dialog because my granddaughter whom is half South American and half North American is on her way. She is another reason I refuse to tolerate injustice to any human because of there color,culture or religious belief,we all love our babies the same and we all bleed the same,we are all human beings. I hope you understand that to learn about what God is called in different cultures is not worshipping .Peace and Love

          • Shadow Girl

            What do you call a :”True American Culture”?? We true Americans destroyed and persecuted the true Americans,are you aware of the Trail Of Tears and what us European Immigrants did to so call establish a true American culture,we stole land,murdered,starved and lied to a culture that were in this America thousands of years before we stepped foot here! I pray to God yes I do pray that people with that type of thinking ,are not the ones teaching our youth in this country.

          • truebleachfan

            I don’t believe you’re a teacher because you can’t legally force children to say the pledge of allegiance.

      • DMJo

        Actually, Freedom of religion means that you can worship the God of your choice ANYWHERE. It does not, however, mean that others have the freedom to force you to worship the God of their choice or even learn about their religion.

    • Lisa

      I don’t agree that this country was founded by people from all over the world. It was “founded” by Western Europeans.
      I am not talking about indigenous cultures. I have a similar background, including Scotch-Irish/Welch and a little German. My people were mountain people from the Appalachias in Kentucky and also were descendants of Cherokee from the Smoky Mountain areas. We were musicians, naturalists who resented mining and lumber companies.

  • Dean

    My grandson told me in his seventh grade class the teacher spent one class each on the other religions of the world, but spent many days explaining in much more detail about Islam. They spent time studying each of the five main pillars of Islam, the teacher went on and on about Mohammed. Telling lies about him – such as he never tried to do harm to anyone, and he was never in the wrong. Overlooking the facts that this warlord had mass graves dug and ordered his soldiers to behead thousands, that among his many wives was a fourteen year old girl (this was 600 years after Jesus; even in Jesus’ time polygamy had already waned, and the New Testament, a book Mohammed taught was to be respected, instructed men to have one wife), and the message he brought, the Qur’an, teaches in multiple locations to kill the infidels, i.e. anyone who doesn’t believe like them. If you are going to teach Islam in a history/social studies class then teach the historical facts, those ugly facts – including the fact that Mohammed owned slaves, and teach how he treated them. Might want to teach how many slaves Jesus owned when you’re on the topic of Christianity, just for comparison. Jesus had zero forced slaves, Mohammed forced many into slavery. Most importantly, SCHOOL OFFICIALS in both Gwinnett & Walton, let parents know ahead of time when you intend to force feed false religions (even though you call it “teaching of history”) so that we can opt our children out of those classes, instead of finding out about it after the fact. That was inexcusable.

    • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

      I’m sure your grandson – a seventh grader – was able to go into that much detail.

      • Lisa

        Absolutely! How do you know Rob Baker. This is an excellent school district. 7th graders do have that much recall- especially when it matters!

        • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

          According to most child psychologists – 12-14 years of age is when children are going through a young teen developmental milestone. They care more about self image and their peers more than in the past. They are hitting puberty as well. I would love to see the 7th grader – who is a religion other than Islam – be able to articulate any religion beyond the basics of that religion.

          • Lisa

            Mr. Baker-
            I know many who can who have a firm Christian foundation and attend public schools, Christian schools, as well as those who are home- schooled.

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            That’s great – but that has nothing to do with what I just posted. What I posted deals with the development of higher order thinking skills.

      • Dean

        Although my own personal comments, in my previous post, started with the word “Overlooking,” I did ask my grandson, since the teacher said Mohammed did no wrong, if she did not mention any of the atrocities this self-serving murderer did do. He verified that she said nothing of the historical facts pertaining to Mohammed’s notorious reputation.

        • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

          You don’t possess enough knowledge about Islam to know what you are talking about and you rather advanced in years. At least, I assume as much, given that you have a grandson.

          Your grandson is a 7th grader – 11-12 (maybe 13 if he was held back) years old.

          Again, I very seriously doubt your grandson posses the advanced cognitive dissonance to articulate what was taught in his class beyond the basics – “Islam is an Abrahamic religion – Muhammed is the key prophet – it originated in the Middle East – the Quran is the holy book.” If he is an advanced student, then he might be able to articulate more about that religion – “it is a Monotheistic religion – The profession of the faith is the Shahadah, “Five Pillars of Islam.” If your grandson is a gifted students (Meaning that he is in gifted classes) he might be able to articulate why Islam is a monotheistic religion by saying – “The Quran says ‘lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muḥammadur rasūlu-llāh” (Transliteration of the Arabic) which means ‘There is no god but GOD. Muhammed is the messenger of GOD.’ and he can probably elaborate on each of the five pillars.”

          This is not to attack your grandson by the way. Given his age, he is probably hitting puberty and more interested in Sally Mae sitting next to him than he is about Islam.

          • Lisa

            Mr. Baker,
            You are extremely disrespectful. You assume that just because someone is old enough to have a grandson that they don’t know much about Islam.? Not only is that disrespectful to say when insinuating that his age would make that person less informed about Islam, but you presume that that don’t know much about that topic.
            You’ve only been teaching for 5 years. Using the same premise, that makes you about 26-28 years old, give or take a few years assuming you graduated at 18 from high school and possibly took 5 years to finish college. There is one thing I know and that is the quality of education that people who are old enough to have grandchildren that age was much better than yours! More importantly, the textbooks they learned from weren’t full of politically correct misinformation that your generation has been pumped full of. Furthermore, you have no idea what that person’s background is. Why would you make such huge generalizations about what their grandchild knows ( based on some child psychology /development textbook ). You are also extremely arrogant to think you know everything about this person or his/her family- especially when you haven’t raised several generations of your own. My children and now grandchildren report a huge amount of information about their academic learning and day. Our values are taught and they know when something is wrong or unjust!

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            No, I’m not being disrespectful or rude. And no, I didn’t say that “because someone is old enough to have a grandson that they don’t know much about Islam” – I said that he did not know much about Islam AND that he was advanced in years (given that he has a grandson), and I am supposed to believe that his 7th grade grandson can accurately articulate enough about Islam and the way the teacher taught Islam.

            It took me 4 years to finish college. 1 year to complete the first masters in education. 3 years to complete the second masters in history. That means for the past 8-10 years, I’ve done nothing but study history – a lot of history – including Islamic history. Does that make me an expert? No – but if definitely makes me more knowledgeable than the common person and 7th grade grandsons.

            Do you have a point you are trying to make? Or are you just lashing out over the fear of people learning different things? Is your religion so unstable that you fear the history of religions being taught? Wow – just, wow.

    • Lisa

      I agree!

    • Lisa

      Dean,
      The school board works for the citizens in a particular town. If I were in your shoes, I’d go around and petition to: 1) have them removed; 2) re-vamp the curriculum (get rid of Common Core Standards), 3) Have parents pull students from school (see if local Christian schools can absorb students whose parents need to work and need to keep kids safe/ in school; 4) BOYCOTT schools that have this curriculum; 5) Contact all politicians and demand to eliminate CCSS curriculum. 6) Put in new school board members from community you trust and know will represent you and your values; 7) re-establish school w/ curriculum you trust as well (see Texas for guidelines).
      I’d like to see how long schools would last after the majority of students are gone?

  • Ngoldwe

    And I suppose Christians and their religion are such goody goodies that they have never done wrong nor harmed other cultures or individuals in the past. And you fundies have such a double standard. It is perfectly ok if Christianity is pushed on a general population of children, even those of parents who are not religious, in our schools yet if they all learn another religion some of you get up all in arms and cry like whiny babies “we Christians are being oppressed and persecuted. If there is one thing that I despise and have utter contempt of is willful ignorance. And there are too many people these days who are talking out of ignorance. How about some of you parents actually learn about Islam yourselves and take a college course or two on the subject, you all just might learn something, but no, that offends your Christian sensibilities

    • Lisa

      NGOLDWE- This is NOT the point. These teachings are NOT allowed in PUBLIC schools, which are paid for by TAXPAYERS. Also, this is a democratically run country and the school board should be teaching what the majority of taxpayers deem as appropriate- not a fringe element/ minority.

    • Lisa

      It has nothing to do with offending our so-called sensibilities. It is legal and not legal, fair and not fair.

      ‘There is no God but Allah’? School accused of Islamic indoctrination

      By Todd Starnes Published September 10, 2015

      FoxNews.com

      Facebook46410 Twitter1701 livefyre16844 Email Print

      Courtesy of Joy Ellis.

      Maury County, Tennessee is in the heart of the Bible Belt. So it’s understandable why the local church ladies got all shook up when they discovered that school children had been forced to declare, “There is no God but Allah.”

      Seventh graders at Spring Hill Middle School spent three weeks covering Islam in a Social Studies class – enraging some parents who say the lessons crossed the line into indoctrination and proselytization.

      Click here to join Todd’s American Dispatch – a must-read for Conservatives.

      “I am not pleased that my 12-year-old was taught the Islamic conversion prayer,” parent Brandee Porterfield told me.

      Could you imagine the outcry from liberal activists if the students had been forced to write “Jesus is Lord’?

      Joy Ellis was a bit fired up, too. She discovered the Islamic lessons after examining her daughter’s class work.

      Related ImageExpand / Contract

      “I was very angry that my child, my Christian child, was made to profess that Allah was the only God,” she told me.

      According to the lessons, students were instructed to write the “Shahada” – “There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Students also learned the five pillars of Islam.

      “That was crossing the line between teaching the culture and teaching them the Islamic faith,” Porterfield told me. “This is not teaching. This is indoctrination.”

      Could you imagine the outcry from liberal activists if the students had been forced to write “Jesus is Lord’?

      Porterfield said she does not have a problem with the school teaching Islam – so long as they give other major religions equal time. But that did not happen.

      “They told me they would not be teaching Christianity,” she said. “Because they only taught this one faith – to me that is state-sponsored prayer in schools.”

      Ellis said it appears the school is advancing a pro-Muslim agenda.

      “It tells me they are trying to convert my children to being Muslim,” she said.

      School officials defended the lessons and disputed some of the allegations from the irate moms and dads.

      “We are not trying to convert,” Dr. Jan Hanvey, the district’s middle school supervisor, told the Columbia Daily Herald.

      Hanvey said the curriculum has been in place for more than 30 years. She also disputed the allegations that the Islamic religion was taught for three weeks, telling the newspaper they spent three weeks talking about the geography, culture, economics and government surrounding the religion.

      So what about other religions – like Christianity? Buddism? Judaisim?

      Hanvey said the chapter on Christianity was “put off” until a later date. She told the Daily Herald by the end of the school year the students will have studied other faiths.

      Porterfield told me she spoke with her daughter’s teacher – and was told a very different story.

      “She said they would not be covering it because Christianity is not in the school standards,” Porterfield said.

      Porterfield and Ellis also took issue with the “white-washing” of the Islamic faith. There were no discussions about extremists slaughtering Christians and Jews. There were no chapters on the extremists beheading people.

      “The textbook is a very cleaned up version of Islam,” Porterfield said.

      Hanvey told the local newspaper that modern events have caused “fear” of Islam – going so far as to compare it to how Japanese people were treated after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

      Well, Dr. Hanvey — flying jetliners into skyscrapers in the name of Allah tends to cause folks to be a bit fearful.

      I’ve been documenting the rise of Islam in American public school classrooms for a number of years. There’s a chapter dedicated to it in my last book, “God Less America.”

      The Islamic faith is being accommodated while the Christian faith is being marginalized. If you need proof, just consider this:

      A few weeks ago, a Mississippi high school marching band was ordered not to play “How Great Thou Art” during a half time show. And yet just a few states away public school children are learning the Islamic profession of faith.

      I wonder what the Islamic term is for double-standard?

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/09/10/there-is-no-god-but-allah-school-accused-islamic-indoctrination.html

      Religion in the Public Schools

      Religion in the Curriculum

      General Rule: Public schools may not teach religion, although teaching about religion in a secular context is permitted. 25 The Bible may be taught in a school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document.

      What distinguishes “teaching religion” from “teaching about religion”?
      Religion may be presented as part of a secular educational program. Programs that “teach about religion” are geared toward teaching students about the role of religion in the historical, cultural, literary and social development of the United States and other nations. These programs should instill understanding, tolerance and respect for a pluralistic society. When discussing religion in this context, religion must be discussed in a neutral, objective, balanced and factual manner. Such programs should educate students about the principle of religious liberty as one of the fundamental elements of freedom and democracy in the United States.

      “Teaching religion” amounts to religious indoctrination and practice and is clearly prohibited in public schools. A public school curriculum may not be devotional or doctrinal. Nor may it have the effect of promoting or inhibiting religion. A teacher must not promote or denigrate any particular religion, religion in general, or lack of religious belief. A teacher must not interject personal views or advocate those of certain students. Teachers must be extremely sensitive to respect, and not interfere with, a student’s religious beliefs and practices. Students must not be encouraged to accept or conform to specific religious beliefs or practices.

      A program intended to teach religion, disguised as teaching about religion, will be found unconstitutional. 26

      In sum, there is a critical difference between teaching religion and teaching about religion. While it is constitutionally permissible for public schools to teach about religion, it is unconstitutional for public schools and their employees to observe religious holidays, promote religious belief, or practice religion. School officials and parents must be extremely careful not to cross the line between “the laudable educational goal of promoting a student’s knowledge of and appreciation for this nation’s cultural and religious diversity, and the impermissible endorsement of religion forbidden by the Establishment Clause.”27

      May schools teach the Bible as literature? The Bible may be studied as literature, but not as religious doctrine. The lesson must be secular, religiously neutral and objective. 28 Classes on the Bible as literature should be optional. 29The Anti-Defamation League strongly suggests that such classes be taught by school personnel who have some training in Establishment Clause issues.

      May schools teach secular values which coincide with religious values?Schools may indeed and should teach secular values such as honesty, respect for others, courage, kindness and good citizenship. These values, however, must not be taught as religious tenets. The fact that most religions also teach these values does not change the lawfulness and desirability of teaching them. It is also appropriate for school officials to instill in students such values as “independent thought, tolerance of diverse views, self-respect, maturity, self-reliance and logical decision-making.” 30

      What are some concerns that arise regarding “teaching about religion” in public schools? Although it is legal to teach about religion in public schools in a neutral and secular manner, school administrators, teachers and parents should be cognizant of the inherent dangers of bringing religion into the classroom. 31Public school teachers should carefully consider the following factors:

      Students are extremely susceptible to peer and public pressure and coercion. This concern is heightened, of course, at the elementary school level. Any discussion of religion in the classroom should be sensitive to the beliefs of the different students in the class. No student should be made to feel that his or her personal beliefs or practices are being questioned, infringed upon or compromised. A student should never feel ostracized on the basis of his or her religious beliefs.

      If religion is discussed, great care must be taken to discuss minority as well as majority religions. The inclusion of only the major religions in a classroom discussion does not reflect the actual religious diversity within our society and the world. Cursory discussions will subtly denigrate the validity of minority religious beliefs held by some individuals, regardless of whether adherents to minority beliefs are represented in the class. If they are present, these students may feel excluded or coerced.

      Students should not be put on the spot to explain their religious (or cultural) traditions. The student may feel uncomfortable and may not have enough information to be accurate. Moreover, by asking a student to be spokesperson for his or her religion, the teacher is sending a signal that the religion is too “exotic” for the teacher to understand. Finally, in certain cases, the teacher may be opening the door for proselytizing activity by the student, which must be avoided.

      Every effort should be made to obtain accurate information about different religions. Special training may be required to prepare teachers to discuss religion in an appropriate manner.

      Discussion of religion in the classroom may alienate those students who are being raised with no religious faith. While there is an obligation for even these students to learn what is being taught as part of a secular educational program, it is very important that teachers avoid discussions that seem to endorse religious belief over non-religious belief. Otherwise, such students may feel pressure to conform to the majority, or be made to feel inferior about their own upbringing.

      Discussion of religion in the classroom may alienate those who are being raised with orthodox religious faiths. It is equally important that teachers not appear to disapprove of faith, thereby alienating those who are raised with faith.
      If students object on religious grounds to portions of a textbook, may they be excused from studying the material? No. Public schools can require that all students use a prescribed set of textbooks if the books neither promote nor oppose any religious practice. The students must only be required to read and discuss the material and may not be required to perform or refrain from performing any act forbidden or mandated by their religion. Mere exposure to ideas that one finds objectionable on religious grounds does not rise to the level of a free exercise claim that compelled activity would. 32

      Aren’t these rules just promoting a “secular religion”? The state may not establish a “religion of secularism” in the sense that the state may not affirmatively oppose or show hostility to religion, thereby preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe. 33 That being said, the prohibition on teaching religion and religious activity ensures that the government does not advance or promote religious belief over non-religious belief or a particular religious belief over other religious beliefs. Simply, the public schools should work to ensure that they do not endorse or disapprove religion, neither promoting nor denigrating it.

      What happens when a student responds to a secular assignment with religious expression? This is as much a free speech issue as it is a religious liberty issue. Where a student responds to an assignment (for example, a book report) with a religiously-themed project (for example, reporting on a religious tract), a school may not refuse to accept the assignment solely because it has a religious basis (students have a right to free expression). However, if in observing the presentation of the assignment — especially expressive assignments like artwork, plays and reports that are presented publicly — an observer might think that the project is endorsed by the school, it is a problem. Thus, a book report delivered to a teacher may not be rejected merely because it is religious, whereas a work of art that will be hung up or displayed by the school or a play intended for public performance is unacceptable. Indeed, educators are able to exercise considerable control over “student expression to assure that participants learn whatever lessons the activity is designed to teach, that readers or listeners are not exposed to material that may be inappropriate for their level of maturity, and that the views of the individual speaker are not erroneously attributed to the school.” 34

      Sample Scenarios:

      Sixth-grader Asks Teacher about Religious Beliefs of Historical Groups
      Mr. Clark’s sixth grade class used a standard reader which had stories on a wide variety of topics. One passage in the reader involved the first settlers in the “new world,” and another described Leonardo da Vinci as the human with a creative mind that “came closest to the divine touch.” Talia Berk, a student in Mr. Clark’s class, was interested in the passage about the first settlers and asked how the religious beliefs and practices of these settlers compared with those of the Native American Indians.

      How should Mr. Clark answer Talia’s question on the settlers?
      After researching the question, the teacher may explain the answer to Talia in a secular, objective and nondoctrinal manner, or recommend a book on the subject which is secular, unbiased and nondoctrinal.

      Parent of Sixth-grader Objects to Reading Assignment on Religious Grounds
      Joe Smith, also a student in Mr. Clark’s class, showed the reader referenced in the prior scenario to his mother, who became very upset with the passage on Leonardo da Vinci, since she viewed it as contrary to her religious beliefs. Joe’s mother asked Mr. Clark to excuse Joe from using the reader. Mr. Clark, unsure of how to respond to Mrs. Smith’s request, went to the principal to seek guidance.

      Should Joe be exempted from using the standard reader?
      The school should not excuse Joe from using the standard reader. However, the school must ensure that the standard reader neither promotes nor opposes religion, and that Joe is merely required to read and discuss the material and is not required to perform or refrain from performing any act forbidden or mandated by his religion.

      Jewish Student Asked to Explain Hanukkah to Class
      Mr. Parker, who is not Jewish, is afraid that he will mischaracterize Hanukkah when he is explaining about holidays. In class, he calls on a Jewish student to see if she would be willing to explain to the class the meaning of Hanukkah. She tries to do so. Later that day, she tells her mother about the incident, who objects to Mr. Parker. Mr. Parker pro-poses that the mother come to class and explain Hanukkah. She agrees and comes to school and performs a holiday-foods cooking demonstration.

      Should Mr. Parker have asked the student to explain Hanukkah? Should he have asked her mother?
      By asking the student, Mr. Parker singled her out from her peers and made Hanukkah seem too exotic for him to explain. It is also unlikely that many students would have the requisite knowledge to give an accurate answer. By asking the mother, Mr. Parker rightly shifted the burden off of the student to an adult. However, he must make sure that the presentation given by the mother is neutral, objective and fits in with a broader lesson plan concerning the holidays. Better still, Mr. Parker could avail himself of one of the many books about Hanukkah and prepare himself to teach the lesson.

      http://archive.adl.org/religion_ps_2004/religion.html#

      The head of the Senate Education Committee wants the Tennessee Department of Education to ensure school districts aren’t indoctrinating students when teaching about religious beliefs.

      Committee Chairwoman Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, sent a letter to department Commissioner Candice McQueen Friday in the wake of some parents concerned about a seventh-grade course that includes a section on Islam.

      “Most of these concerns surround the teaching of Islamic tenets in Tennessee classrooms. While we understand the importance of teaching world history to our students, we must be prudent in our approach so it is clear that we are educating rather than indoctrinating,” Gresham wrote in the letter.

      THE TENNESSEAN

      Islam in schools: What parents should know

      The state and educators have denied that there is an undue focus on Islam or the “Islamic World.” Instead, they’ve argued students learn about Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Shinto in the context of world history in several grades during their education. It’s important to understand the impact religion has had on shaping the world, teachers and administrators recently told The Tennessean.

      There are still fears of indoctrination. Parents in Williamson County, Wilson County and elsewhere have complained about the seventh-grade course. Students do learn the five pillars on Islam, in addition to the basic tenets of other religions. But Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and state Republican lawmakers recently alluded to indoctrination in classrooms.

      “I’m with you all if anything should be taught is first that America is great,” wrote Rep. John Holsclaw, R-Elizabethton, in an ongoing email chain between Republican lawmakers upset about the curriculum.

      THE TENNESSEAN

      Lawmakers fear Islamic ‘indoctrination’ in TN classes

      Gresham asked McQueen to send a letter to local school districts asking teachers “to use caution when teaching religious beliefs and how they impact world history.”

      McQueen recently defended the standards. But she also announced the state will open a review of social studies standards in January, earlier than previously scheduled.

      Reach Dave Boucher at 615-259-8892 and on Twitter @Dave_Boucher1.
      Pastor Says If You Can’t Teach Bible in School, then You Shouldn’t Teach Quran Either

      Posted on March 25, 2015 by Dave Jolly Filed under Christianity, Education, Islam

      Share539 Tweet98 Share745 Email12

      In 1960 infamous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair filed a lawsuit against the Baltimore City Public School System challenging the constitutionality of requiring students to participate in reading the Bible in public schools, specifically her son William. The lawsuit worked its way through the court system, reaching the hallowed chambers of the US Supreme Court in 1963 where the high court ruled in favor of O’Hare.

      This lawsuit along with several others around the same time have led to God, Jesus, the Bible and everything Christian being evicted, banned and denied from classrooms throughout the nation. The slightest hint of anything Christian brings out the atheists and God haters screaming lawsuit and everything else possible to bully school officials into complying with their atheistic agenda.

      Schools are being sued right and left for anything associated with Christianity. A volunteer group organizes a prayer rally at a nearby church for the high school football team and they are threatened with a lawsuit. A student asks questions about creation in a science class and the teacher answers, only to be sued, reassigned or fired. A teacher just leaves a Bible sitting on his desk and the school is sued.

      So why is it okay for so many schools to be teaching Islam and having students read from the Quran and recite the call the prayer? Why is it okay for students to be told by their teachers that Allah is god and creator, but it’s not okay for teachers to their students that the God of the Bible is the Creator?

      That’s what Pastor Herb Mays is asking. Mays served our nation in Vietnam where he earned the Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Today he pastors Hosanna Church in Portland, Tennessee. He became concerned and upset when he learned what his 13 year old granddaughter was being taught at Westmoreland Middle School.

      According to Tennessee law, all seventh graders are required to take a course on world religions. It’s up to the individual school districts what textbook and curriculum they use, but one way or another, students are forced to learn about many other religions, without learning anything about Christianity.

      Mays said his granddaughter is forced to read from the Quran, learn about Allah being the creator and knowing how to recite the Muslim call to prayer and many other aspects of Islam. He told the local media:

      “We don’t teach the Bible. We can’t carry the Bible anymore to school, we can’t pray in school, so I’m upset that the seventh-grade social studies class is learning about the Quran.”

      “It says Allah is the creator. He’s the god who created us all. I don’t believe Allah created the heavens and the earth, so I have a problem with this being taught to children in school.”

      Mays’ granddaughter is a straight A student, but she said that she and other students have been very uncomfortable with the lessons on Islam. She told the media:

      “We had to learn the five pillars of Islam and their beliefs and practices and what they have to do and all what they believe in. It didn’t feel right doing this.

      “It just made me feel it wasn’t right doing all this stuff and learning what they believe because it’s not what I know and it just didn’t feel right.”

      The family has decided to pull the daughter/granddaughter out of the public school and use homeschooling from here on. When asked if the family’s reactions and his speaking out are radical, May’s responded:

      “Yes, I think it’s a radical stand, I really do. But I stand up for what I believe. I think what’s wrong with the world today is that good people don’t stand up and evil prevails. And so I’m just making a stand.”

      I applaud Mays and his family for taking a strong stand against the teaching of Islam to impressionable students. I’ve been advocating homeschooling for years because of the radical agenda of the public education system. They’ve abandoned Christianity and everything good, moral and true about America’s history. They’ve replaced it with atheism or Islam. They strive to undermine everything about America that made us strong and a nation of morals. They strive to undermine the family by promoting homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Students are taught to not only accept homosexuality but to experiment with it and other sexual perversions.

      Public school students are also subjected to twelve years of socialist brainwashing with the goal of producing a generation of unconditionally compliant comrades that will obey a socialist government like worker bees obey their queen. Don’t let your child/children or grandchildren grow up to be a socialist worker bee. Do whatever you can to get them out of public schooling before it’s too late.

      Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/21248/pastor-says-if-you-cant-teach-bible-in-school-then-you-shouldnt-teach-quran-either/#t5r6pEf0YTO2iDgf.99

  • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

    A better headline might be – ‘Some Walton County Residents are Determined to Keep Their Children Ignorant.”

    • FlaGuy

      absolutely!

      • Lisa

        Absolutely not! There is NO place for these teachings in education- period. There is a place for religion- in homes and churches- NOT schools! That is why we have the separation between church and state.

        • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

          Religions impact cultures and they shape how humanity functions – therefore, religions are taught. ALL religions. Confucianism, Polytheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikh should be added. Or, we can just let people be ignorant. Much like the recent story of some bigot beating up a man…because he thought he was Muslim…even though the guy was Sikh.

        • DMJo

          Actually, there is NO separation of church and state. There is an anti-establishment clause in the 1st Amendment but that means that the govt. cannot establish a national church (like the Church of England). It does NOT mean that there can be no mention of religion in any govt. building or on “govt.” property (which is really property owned by all the people. Govt. owns nothing in America).

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            Actually, there is separation of church and state. Supreme Court on several occasions throughout time has ruled the same.

      • Lisa

        Go to church!

        Nicene Creed

        We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
        the only Son of God,
        eternally begotten of the Father,
        God from God, Light from Light,
        true God from true God,
        begotten, not made,
        of one Being with the Father.
        Through him all things were made.
        For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
        by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.
        For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
        in accordance with the Scriptures;
        he ascended into heaven
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
        He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end.

        We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
        who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
        With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
        He has spoken through the Prophets.
        We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
        We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
        We look for the resurrection of the dead,
        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

        NOT THE SAME “GOD”

        Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

        By Albert Mohler • December 1, 2013 • Topics: God

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        Decision Magazine

        December 2013

        Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?Does God care what we call Him? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same god? These are questions many Christians are asking these days, and for good reason.

        For some time now, feminist theologians and a host of others have suggested that Christians should adopt new names for God. One denomination went so far as to affirm names like “Giver, Gift and Giving” in place of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to be used in worship. Feminist theologians have demanded that masculine pronouns and names for God be replaced with female or gender-neutral terms. But to change the name of God is to redefine the God we reference. Changing the name of God is no small matter.

        As a matter of fact, God takes His name very seriously, and the Ten Commandments include the command that we must not take the name of the Lord in vain. We are to use the names God has given for Himself, and we are to recognize that God takes His name seriously because He desires to be rightly known by His human creatures. We cannot truly know Him if we do not even know His name.

        Moses understood this. When he encountered the call of God that came from the burning bush, Moses asked God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). God answered Moses, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). God told Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:15).

        As these verses make clear, we are not to tamper with God’s name. We are to use the names whereby God has named Himself, and we are to recognize that any confusion about the name of God will lead to confusion about the nature of God, if not to idolatry.

        Christians must keep this central principle from the Bible constantly in mind as we consider some of the most urgent questions we face in the world today. We must certainly have this principle in mind when we think about Islam.

        Several years ago, a bishop in the Netherlands attracted controversy when he argued that Christians should call God “Allah” in order to lower theological tensions. He also argued that calling God “Allah” would be commonplace in Christian churches within a century and that this would lead to a synthesis of Islam and Christianity.

        More recently, an Islamic court in Malaysia ruled that only Muslims can use the name “Allah” in print publications. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community,” the chief judge ruled. Oddly enough, Christians may well agree with this Islamic judge. To call God “Allah” is to invite confusion.

        In the Bible, God reveals Himself to us in many names. These names are His personal property. We did not invent these names for God. To the contrary, God revealed these names as His own.

        We have no right to modify or to revise these names—much less to reject them. Jesus Christ made this abundantly clear. In the simplest way imaginable, Jesus teaches us to know God as Father, and to use this name in prayer. The Lord’s Prayer begins with the words, “Our Father, who is in heaven.” By the grace that God has shown us in Christ, we can truly know Him as Father.

        Muslims do not speak of God as their heavenly Father. In the Islamic faith, Allah is not only a different name for god; the deity it designates is far more impersonal than the God of the Bible. Father—the very name that Jesus gave us as the designated name for use in prayer—is a name that simply does not fit Allah as depicted in the Quran.

        Furthermore, Muslims claim that Allah has no son. This represents a head-on collision between the God of the Bible and Allah. For, as the Bible makes clear, the one and only true God is most perfectly revealed as the Father of the Son, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Jesus repeatedly teaches that no one has truly known the Father, except by the Son. In one of the most clarifying verses in the New Testament, Jesus declared Himself to be “the way, and the truth, and the life,” adding, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

        Because Muslims deny that God has a son, they explicitly reject any Trinitarian language. From the very starting point, Islam denies what Christianity takes as its central truth claim: the fact that Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father. If Allah has no son, then Allah is not the God who reveals Himself through the Son. How then can calling God “Allah” not lead to anything but confusion—and worse?

        Islam teaches that the doctrine of the Trinity is blasphemous. But the Christian faith is essentially and irreducibly Trinitarian. The Bible reveals that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. Jesus is not merely a prophet, as acknowledged by Muslims, He is God in human flesh. This is precisely what Islam rejects.

        The Trinitarian language is the language of the Bible, and it is essential to Christianity. Indeed, the Christian faith points to Christ and announces that we can only know the Father through the Son. Confusing the God of the Bible with Allah of the Quran is not only a mistake, it is a dangerous distortion of the Gospel of Christ.

        The Trinitarian nature of God is embedded within the Great Commission. Jesus tells His disciples to go into the world and make disciples of all nations and to baptize them “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Christians are those who bear the names of God even in our baptism, and those names are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

        This has become a matter of significant controversy in recent years as some Christians, including some serving with mission agencies, have argued that Christians can use the name “Allah” in talking about God. In some languages, especially those based on an Arabic source, there is no generic word for god. In such a situation, it might be necessary to begin a conversation by using this word, but the Christian cannot continue to call God “Allah.” It is hard to imagine that anyone can hear the name “Allah” without thinking of him as claimed in the Quran (see following article). Indeed, Muslims who speak languages other than Arabic use “Allah” as the name of god. But as soon as the Christian begins to explain that the true living God is the Father of Jesus Christ the Son, the Christian is making clear that the true living God is not Allah, but our Heavenly Father.

        Continuing to use the name “Allah” to refer to the God of the Bible in such situations invites deep confusion. Some now argue that Muslims who come to faith in Christ can even remain within the mosque and continue to worship God as Allah. It is hard to see how that is anything other than a theological disaster.

        We can now see that the name of God is no small matter. The deity we name is the God we believe in. Christians believe in only one God, and He is the Father who sent the Son to save us from our sins. Allah has no son, and, thus, Christians cannot know God as Allah. In this light, Muslims and Christians do not only use different names for God; in reality, these different names refer to different gods.

        God takes His name with great seriousness, and so must we. Thankfully, we are not left in the dark, groping for adequate language. God has revealed His names to us, so that we can rightly know Him. We are not called to be clever or creative in referring to God, only faithful and accurate.

        We are living in challenging days. One of the most pressing challenges of our times is the task of speaking rightly about God. This is particularly challenging when Christians encounter Muslims, but it is also a challenge when Christians encounter secular people in Western cultures. But this really isn’t a new challenge. It was the same challenge faced by the children of Israel as they encountered the Canaanites, and the same challenge faced by the Apostle Paul at Mars Hill.

        Our challenge is to speak truthfully about God, and the only way we can do that is to use the names God gave Himself. The God of the Bible is not Allah, and Allah is not the God of the Bible. Any confusion about that undermines the very Gospel we preach.

        ©2013 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

        Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

        R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, KY.

        • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

          Do you do anything besides copy and paste what other people write? The opinion of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is hardly an accurate assessment of Islam.

    • Frank Cuomo
  • FlaGuy

    Some of you people are just plain ignorant. Pick up a darn book and read it for goodness sake. You want to bring your children back to the dark ages! Allah is the Arabic word for God, just as Jehova is the Hebrew word for God. They are the same deity that you all (claim to) pray to. We as teachers teach about the religion of Islam, just as we teach about the religions of Christianity and Judaism, because it is relevant to World History. Stop forcing your children to be as ignorant and hateful as you are. Maybe if you actually read the textbook you’d understand what I’m saying. Ignorance has no place in our schools, leave the teaching to those of us who went to college to teach.

    • Lisa

      FlaGuy- The problem is that children are being indoctrinated in school. I am a teacher and this is NOT allowed. Period. If we go on what our God is, then Abraham was the basis for Jews and, Jesus being a Jew- Christians as well. Schools have NO right to be teaching what should be taught at a Sunday school on school time. FAPE is paid by taxpayers. Period!

      • FlaGuy

        Lisa, I don’t believe for a minute that you’re a teacher because nothing you said makes sense. First of all, there is NOT a systematic problem of indoctrination in the public school system. In order for you to believe that, you would have to believe that most or all of the social studies teachers are Muslim. That is just statistically not true or possible. Second, if you were a teacher you would understand the difference between teaching about a topic and preaching that topic. We teach ABOUT Islam because it is a part of history, we do not teach Islam. Allah is God is Jehovah is Dios. It’s all language. Lastly, if you are a teacher; Shame on you and please turn in your teaching licence, for you have no real understanding of what it means to be an educator.

        • DMJo

          If you are forcing the kids to say that Allah is the Only God, then you are proselytizing and going beyond teaching.

          • FlaGuy

            Sure, I can accept that, but the problem is, nobody is forcing kids to say that Allah is the one true God, what we are doing is teaching them that, that is what the Muslims believed. You see, this is a history course and we teach history, we don’t teach religion. Just like when I teach about Christianity, I don’t force the students to believe that a man died and was somehow resurrected three days later. I teach them that is what Christians believe.

          • DMJo

            Did you not read the article? One kid had to bear witness that “Allah is the only God”. Just because YOU are not forcing kids to bear witness doesn’t mean that others aren’t.

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            Apparently you do not know what “bearing witness” means. The student had a worksheet in which he had to identify different components of Islam. No one is making them pray or bear witness – they are making them learn.

      • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

        If you are a teacher – then get out of the public school system – because you have no idea what you are talking about. This is coming from a teacher.

        • disqus_gWdkiydcD2

          Rob,

          1) Using your previous rationale:

          If you can teach students about Islam and other religions, then I can teach students the Nicene Creed, have them memorize the 10 commandments, books of the Bible, etc.

          2) You’re rude! The law is clear:

          Prayer in Classrooms and at Assemblies
          The United States Supreme Court has long held that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits
          school-sponsored prayer or religious indoctrination. Forty years ago, the Court struck down classroom prayers and
          scripture readings, even if they were voluntary and even if students had the option of being excused. School Dist.
          Of Abington Township v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).
          Pledge of Allegiance
          The Constitution requires that students’ recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance must be voluntary. Over 60 years ago
          the United States Supreme Court declared that compulsory flag salute and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
          violated an individual’s constitutional right to freedom of expression. “No official, high or petty, can prescribe what
          shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or
          act their faith therein.” West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).
          While school officials may encourage students to show respect for our country, they may not require mandatory
          displays of patriotism. Students have the constitutional right to remain seated and silently respectful during the
          Pledge of Allegiance, and cannot be otherwise compelled to salute the flag. Students who choose not to recite the
          Pledge of Allegiance may do so without parental consent. Formal discipline, including detentions and suspensions,
          cannot be imposed for non-participation, nor can other types of non-disciplinary penalties such as reducing
          grades, requiring transfers to different classrooms, or withholding letters of recommendations.
          Distribution of Gideon Bibles
          In Berger v. Rensselaer School Corp.¸ 982 F.2d at 1165-66 (7th Cir.), cert. Denied. U.S. 113 S. Ct. 2344 (1993) the
          court ruled that the Gideons Society practice of distributing Bibles to public school students in fifth grade classrooms
          was unconstitutional. The court found both the Gideons in-school presentation as well as the practice of
          stacking Bibles by the classroom door with the encouragement to take one to violate the Establishment Clause.
          Although the teachers did not distribute the Bibles, and the students were not required to take a Bible, the court
          found the practice to be an unconstitutional governmental endorsement of religion. The court noted that the availability
          of Bibles to students in schools carried the stamp of school endorsement simply because they were made
          available to students during instructional time and with the permission of the school. The fact that distribution occurs
          during school hours could lead a reasonable student to believe that the school endorses the program.
          Equal Access Act
          Religious clubs may hold meetings on public high school grounds in accordance with the Federal Equal Access Act
          as long as other similar non-curriculum related student groups are allowed to meet during non-instructional time;
          the club does not interfere with regular educational activities; and the school does not initiate, direct, sponsor, participate
          in, or promote during instructional time the religious activities of student clubs. Additionally, while faculty
          are commonly required to be present during student meetings for insurance purposes, their role should be restricted
          to a custodial, non-participatory role. These measures are in place to ensure the separation of church and state.
          Under Federal Law, “nonschool persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly
          attend activities of student groups.” 20 U.S.C. 2071 (c) (5). This statute ensures
          that the motivation for these meetings is based on genuine student interest,
          rather than a method of outside manipulation by adults for their own purposes.

          RELIGION AND PRAYER IN U.S. PUBLIC SCHOOLS

          INTRODUCTION, CONSTITUTION, COURT DECISIONS, etc.

          Sponsored link.

          Topics covered:OverviewPast conflictsWhat the constitution prohibitsWhat the constitution allows and requiresEnforcing religious rightsFactors to consider about school prayerLandmark court decisionsRelated essaysSources of additional informationReferences

          Overview:

          Many people honestly believe that prayer is not allowed in the public schools. This is wrong. Unfortunately, this mistaken notion sometimes extends to teachers, principals and school boards.

          Students have many opportunities to pray:They can attend one of the over 350,000 places of worship in the United States, which promote “every conceivable creed, sect and denomination.” 6Prayer is allowed — and in fact is a protected form of free speech — throughout the public school system. Students can pray in school busses, at the flag-pole, in student religious clubs, in the hallways, cafeteria, etc.If the school has as few as one extra-curricular student-led and student-organized group, then students have a legal right to organize a Bible or other religious club to meet outside of classroom time.

          Yet, a great deal of effort is being expended by religious folks to require prayer in the classroom. Some reasons may be:Sunday school and other religious instruction of young people within the houses of worship in the U.S. and Canada has largely collapsed. Percentage attendance is a small fraction of what it was two generations ago.Some adults believe that to start the school day with a prayer will create an aura of solemnity and order among the students.Others believe that prayer has magical powers. It will persuade God to protect the school and its staff and students. They may believe that prayer would have a beneficial influence on drug problems, school violence, teen pregnancy, etc.Others feel that if the students are forced to recite a Christian prayer each day, they will come to realize that they live in a Christian country where the government and its institutions support Christianity.

          The one place where prayer is not normally permitted is in the classroom itself when a class is in session. The latter would violate the principle of church-state separation which is defined by court interpretations of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The separation principle is extended to Public Schools as an arm of the government. As interpreted by the courts, the Constitution’s First Amendment requires that public school teachers, principals, and boards be religiously neutral:They may not promote a particular religion as being superior to any other.They may not promote religion in general as superior to a secular approach to life.They may not promote secularism in general as superior to a religious approach to life.They may not be antagonistic to religion in general or a particular religious belief in particular.They may not be antagonistic to secularism.They must neither advance nor inhibit religion.

          Past conflicts:

          There has been a long history of conflict over school prayer. During the 19th century, there were continual conflicts between Protestants and Catholics over which version of the Bible was to be used in schools. During the 20th century, there were conflicts over the precise text of school prayers. “In New York, a committee of the State Regents actually tried to invent a ‘nondenominational, nonsectarian’ prayer that would presumably offend no one (save Atheist or nonreligious families) and still have the effect of appealing to an unspecified deity.”

          What the constitution prohibits:

          The law, as interpreted by various levels of courts, is rapidly evolving in this area. Speaking very generally, the law prohibits public schools from:Requiring students to recite prayers in class. The main concerns of the courts appear to be twofold:The compulsive nature of prayer. Although most state laws which attempt to allow school prayer usually permit the student to excuse themselves and wait in the hall, the courts still see an element of compulsion. By separating themselves from the rest of the class, the student risks later harassment and abuse by fellow students.The risk of religious indoctrination. The 1st amendment of the U.S. constitution states that there shall be no law regarding the establishment of religion. The courts view prayer in the classroom to be one example of the government approving one religion over another. Even a student-selected, student-given, non-sectarian, non-proselytizing prayer still carries with it the stamp of approval of the state – i.e. the state approves of, and is seen to promote, belief in God (and whatever other religious content that the prayer might have).

          The US Supreme Court ruled against mandated daily school prayer in Engel v. Vitale (1962). In 1963, it struck down laws in Pennsylvania and Maryland which mandated Bible reading and prayer.Public prayers at high school games: Various courts have ruled that:An individual student or group of students is free to pray at a game. To prevent this would violate the student(s) free speech rights.Teachers, coaches, etc. cannot lead a group prayer. To do so would be viewed as school endorsement of a specific religion, which is unconstitutional under the principle ofseparation of church and state.Student-led, student written public prayers are not permitted to be part of a game format. i.e. the school officials cannot insert a prayer into the schedule of a game, even if the actual prayer is led by a student. More details on this topic.
          Promoting any one denomination or religion at the expense of another faith group or secular philosophy. For example, a comparative religion class must give a balanced description of religious and secular beliefs from a variety of faith groups and ethical systems.
          Banning the wearing of religious clothing and symbols.
          This seems to be a growing problem throughout the U.S. In general, children do not abandon their religious rights when entering public school campuses. Religious clothing and symbols, if not disruptive, are a protected form of speech. More details on this topic. Prayers before Board of Education meetings:
          The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals decided on 1999-MAR-18 that the Board of Education in Cleveland, OH, cannot pray before their meetings. The court ruled that prayers are an illegal endorsement of religion. School board attorneys have not decided whether they will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 1″Clergy in the Schools” project: A panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on 1999-APR-16 that a Texas “Clergy in the Schools” program is unconstitutional. The Beaumont Independent School District introduced this program in 1996. Local clergy led group counseling discussions in the school about morality and civic virtues . The students involved in the counseling were selected by school officials without prior notice to, or consent form, the parents. Prayer and discussion of religion, sex or abortion were not permitted. The clergy were not allowed to identify their church affiliation. Secular counselors were not permitted. The majority opinion of the panel was that the program “makes a clear statement that it favors religion over nonreligion.” They were also concerned that the clergy were disproportionately Protestants. The found that the involvement of school officials in this project created an “excessive entanglement” between church and state.

          What the constitution allows:

          Again, this is in a state of flux. As of early 1999, the following activities are permitted. In fact, they are more than allowed. They are constitutionally protected as freedom of speech, religion and assembly rights:Graduation ceremonies: Some invocations, benedictions and prayers at graduation ceremonies. This is very much a gray area as far as court rulings is concerned. More details.Teaching religion: The positive and negative effects of religion on society may be studied in history, literature, comparative religion, and other courses. Comparative religion classes are allowed, as long as one religion is not presented as being superior to any another, or as absolute truth. Bible study is allowed, as long as the texts from other religions are also studied. Schools can communicate the broad field of religion but not indoctrinate their students in a particular faith.Student religious clubs: If the school receives federal funds, then it must obey the federalEqual Access Act of 1984. Students are free to organize Bible study and other religious special interest clubs if any other secular clubs are allowed. The school may prohibit religious clubs, but only if it prohibits all student groups. Religious clubs must be given the same access to school facilities (space to meet, permission to advertise on school bulletin boards, permission to have announcements read over the PA system, inclusion in the year book, etc.) as do other clubs. Group meetings must be “voluntary and student initiated.” There must be no “sponsorship” of the meetings by the school. “Non-school persons may not direct, conduct, control, or regularly attend” the activities. One effect of this law is the flourishing of Christian clubs in public schools. The American Civil Liberties Union estimates that 10,000 Christian clubs are operating in U.S. high schools. 2 More informationMoment of silence: Having students engage in a moment of silence during which they can pray, meditate, plan their day, or engage in any other silent mental activity. In late 2000, a federal court affirmed the constitutionality of the moment of silence law which came into effect in Virginia on 2000-APR-1. The decision is under appeal by the ACLU. The Natural Law Projectpromotes this alternative. 4Prayer outside of school building: Students can organize prayers on school property outside the classroom. e.g. they can conduct group prayer meetings at the school flagpole.School religious speech: Students can carry Bible or other religious texts to and in school. They can pray before eating. A student can pray on the school bus, in the cafeteria, in classrooms before and after class, in the corridors, in the washrooms, etc. They can wear T-shirts with religious text. They can wear religious jewelry (buttons, symbols). They can hand out religious materials. They can freely talk about religion to fellow students, outside of class. They can pray before eating in the cafeteria. These are well-known freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Yet not everyone is aware of these forms of protected speech. Bill Keane’s cartoon “Family Circus” for 1999-NOV-15 shows a mother waving at two children leaving the house. She says “Get to school safely.” The caption reads “Chances are they will as long as they’re allowed to pray on that old school bus.”Rental of school facilities: Many religious organizations rent school facilities after hours. Past court decisions generally supported this right, if rooms are also rented to secular groups. Court rulings specified that schools can refuse to rent to religious groups, but then they cannot rent to outside secular organizations as well. However, recent court decisions have split on this issue.Teaching of evolution: Schools may require their teachers to explain evolution as a scientific theory, as supported by 95% of scientists. This would include teachers who might not believe evolution to be true because of their personal religious grounds.Teacher display of religion: Teachers may be prohibited from displaying a Bible on their desk or from placing religious posters on the classroom wall. This would imply state support for a specific religion.

          In summary, the law guarantees students’ fundamental religious freedoms while requiring the school to maintain a religiously neutral environment. Sometimes the latter requires some limitations on teachers’ freedoms. A 1996-JUN court decision by the US District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi covers many of the above items, including prayer over a school-wide intercom, a pre-school religious group, classroom prayer, teaching a Bible class and religious instruction in a history class. The text of the court order is also available on the Internet.

          Sponsored link:

          Enforcing religious rights:

          Even though many religious behaviors are protected by the Constitution, they are not necessarily allowed by the teacher, school principal or school board. Sometimes, they have to be fought for.

          A small percentage of public school teachers and principals have interpreted the constitution incorrectly. Some have:forbidden a student from reading a Bible in the school bus.forbidden a student from praying before a meal in the cafeteria.refused to accept a student history essay on the life of an historical figure because the essay described Jesus.refused to allow a Bible study group to be organized by students, while permitting political, philosophical, science and other special interest groups.

          Such infringements on a student’s religious freedom are clearly unconstitutional, and based on ignorance of the law by the teacher, principal and/or school board. The US Supreme Court has ruled that students’ rights do not stop at the school door. Such disputes are usually resolved when the school is informed of student’s rights. Many Christian litigation groups are actively involved in such resolutions. The Rutherford Institute 3 is believed to be the largest such organization. They have stated: “Many cases can be solved with a strong and professional letter from an attorney, a legal memorandum from our office, or a phone call from a staff member.” Although it is a conservative Christian group, they occasionally take on cases which support the rights of non-Christians.

          Factors to Consider About School Prayer:

          This topic generates a great deal more heat than light. A number of points are might be considered concerning prayer and other religious activities in public classrooms:Contrary to generally held belief, prayer is not forbidden in public schools. A student can come early to class, sit quietly, and pray silently. Similarly, with some discipline, a student can pray upon rising, as a family before leaving home, even (if they can concentrate over the noise) in a school bus, in the cafeteria, etc.If students are allowed to organize any type of extra-curricular group, such as a science club or political club, then they are free to organize religious or prayer groups. The federal “equal access” law requires this of all school districts that receive federal funding. They may hold their meetings on school property, advertise their group, etc. to the same extent as non-religious student groups.Students do not leave their constitutional rights at the door of the school: they can wear clothing that promotes a specific religion or denomination; they can discuss the religious aspects of a topic in class, etc.There is a sizable minority of parents (and by implication, children) who follow other than Christian religions or who follow no religion at all. They find a state-sponsored Christian prayer to be deeply offensive, and an attack on their freedom of religion.Many deeply Christian and other religious parents and children who pray regularly regard enforced, state written prayers to be deeply offensive and a violation of fundamental human rights.Some jurisdictions have allowed objecting students to leave the room and thus be excused from reciting a prayer. However, this action subjects the students to harassment by their peers.To require students to recite a Christian prayer implies state recognition of Christianity as a religion of special status in the country. This is interpreted by many that religions other than Christianity are of inferior status. That promotes conflict among faith groups and intolerance towards minority religions.Attempting to decide what prayers should be used can result in inter-denominational conflict among Christians. More conservative groups might ask for prayers which deal with sin, Satan,Hell and the necessity of being saved. Mainstream groups may want to write prayers which emphasize the love of God and responsibilities to one’s fellow humans.The freedom for parents and a school system to require children to recite a state-written prayer conflicts with the rights of parents and students who wish freedom from compulsory prayer. Some jurisdictions have reached various compromises that balance the rights and desires of opposing groups:Some schools institute a moment of silence that students can use to pray silently, or meditate, or simply center themselves.Most schools allow any interested students to gather outside the classroom in the school to pray as a group.In Canada, some school systems have a list of prayers drawn from a variety of religions that are found in the state or province. These prayers are read in sequence by a volunteer. Students are not required to recite the words; they can simply remain silent. This approach has a valuable educational component. Students learn a little about many religions. They realize that there are many different religions in the world and that society recognizes that all have worth.

          Landmark decisions concerning religion in the public schools:1948: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down religious instruction in public schools in theirMcCollum v. Board of Education decision.1954: The Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling, Tudor v. Board of Education against the distribution of Bibles by outside groups like the Gideons.1960: Madalyn Murray O’Hair sued the Baltimore MD school system on behalf of her son William J Murray, because he was being forced to participate in prayer in schools.1962: The Supreme Court, in Engel v. Vitale, disallowed a government-composed, nondenominational “Regents” prayer which was recited by students .1963: In a number of major decisions (Murray v. Curlett; Abington Township School district v. Schempp) mandatory Bible verse recitation was ruled unconstitutional.2001: A decision is expected by 2001-JUN from the U.S. Supreme Court in a curious case involving the rental of school facilities. A Fundamentalist Christian group was refused permission to rent school facilities. The policy is to rent rooms for “social, civic, and recreational meetings and entertainment events and other uses,” but not to religious groups. It seems like such an open and shut case: the school must rent to all groups or none, and cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. But the federal trial judge and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals both ruled against the club.

          References:

          Religion Today news summary, 1999-MAR-19.

          ACLU Newsfeed, 1999-NOV-5.

          Rutherford Institute has a web page at: http://www.rutherford.org/

          Natural Prayer Project is available at:Email: naturalprayer@earthlink.net Website: http://www.naturalprayer.com Phone: 1-800-209-9929 (US only)Fax: (619) 573-0752Dave Clark, “Dallas schools attempt church ouster,” at:http://www.family.org/cforum/fnif/news/A0013582.html

          “New prayer guides from D. of E. push religion, threaten school funding,” American Atheists AANews, 2003-FEB-11.

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            No, I’m not rude – I am correct.

            I do teach the 10 Commandments. I did not teach the Nicene Creed but I did teach the “Sermon on the Mount” from the Gospels.

            Teaching about religion, religious prayers, beliefs, traditions, and texts and praying/worshipping are different things. Thanks for the giant copy and paste job though.

          • Antibalaka

            Stupidity is your third name

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            Care to point out what you disagree with…or are childish insults all you have to offer?

    • Dean

      Not saying you are stupid, just ignorant about a matter in your post. Meaning you obiously just don’t know that Allah and Jehovah are NOT the same deity. Jehovah had a son, Allah never had a son. Two different deities. One revealed Himself to the very first man and woman, and was personable with man for many thousands of years thereafter before the other one was ever even willing to speak to a man.

      • FlaGuy

        Isiah 42:8

      • FlaGuy

        Unless you’re speaking of Allah, then he’s still the same God. Allah is the Arabic name for God. Regardless if Muslims believe Jesus was really the son of God or not, it’s still the same deity.

        • Lisa

          Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

          By Albert Mohler • December 1, 2013 • Topics: God

          SHARE5K+ TWEET99 Home

          Decision Magazine

          December 2013

          Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

          Does God care what we call Him? Do Muslims and Christians worship the same god? These are questions many Christians are asking these days, and for good reason.

          For some time now, feminist theologians and a host of others have suggested that Christians should adopt new names for God. One denomination went so far as to affirm names like “Giver, Gift and Giving” in place of the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to be used in worship. Feminist theologians have demanded that masculine pronouns and names for God be replaced with female or gender-neutral terms. But to change the name of God is to redefine the God we reference. Changing the name of God is no small matter.

          As a matter of fact, God takes His name very seriously, and the Ten Commandments include the command that we must not take the name of the Lord in vain. We are to use the names God has given for Himself, and we are to recognize that God takes His name seriously because He desires to be rightly known by His human creatures. We cannot truly know Him if we do not even know His name.

          Moses understood this. When he encountered the call of God that came from the burning bush, Moses asked God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). God answered Moses, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). God told Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:15).

          As these verses make clear, we are not to tamper with God’s name. We are to use the names whereby God has named Himself, and we are to recognize that any confusion about the name of God will lead to confusion about the nature of God, if not to idolatry.

          Christians must keep this central principle from the Bible constantly in mind as we consider some of the most urgent questions we face in the world today. We must certainly have this principle in mind when we think about Islam.

          Several years ago, a bishop in the Netherlands attracted controversy when he argued that Christians should call God “Allah” in order to lower theological tensions. He also argued that calling God “Allah” would be commonplace in Christian churches within a century and that this would lead to a synthesis of Islam and Christianity.

          More recently, an Islamic court in Malaysia ruled that only Muslims can use the name “Allah” in print publications. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community,” the chief judge ruled. Oddly enough, Christians may well agree with this Islamic judge. To call God “Allah” is to invite confusion.

          In the Bible, God reveals Himself to us in many names. These names are His personal property. We did not invent these names for God. To the contrary, God revealed these names as His own.

          We have no right to modify or to revise these names—much less to reject them. Jesus Christ made this abundantly clear. In the simplest way imaginable, Jesus teaches us to know God as Father, and to use this name in prayer. The Lord’s Prayer begins with the words, “Our Father, who is in heaven.” By the grace that God has shown us in Christ, we can truly know Him as Father.

          Muslims do not speak of God as their heavenly Father. In the Islamic faith, Allah is not only a different name for god; the deity it designates is far more impersonal than the God of the Bible. Father—the very name that Jesus gave us as the designated name for use in prayer—is a name that simply does not fit Allah as depicted in the Quran.

          Furthermore, Muslims claim that Allah has no son. This represents a head-on collision between the God of the Bible and Allah. For, as the Bible makes clear, the one and only true God is most perfectly revealed as the Father of the Son, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John, Jesus repeatedly teaches that no one has truly known the Father, except by the Son. In one of the most clarifying verses in the New Testament, Jesus declared Himself to be “the way, and the truth, and the life,” adding, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

          Because Muslims deny that God has a son, they explicitly reject any Trinitarian language. From the very starting point, Islam denies what Christianity takes as its central truth claim: the fact that Jesus Christ is the only begotten of the Father. If Allah has no son, then Allah is not the God who reveals Himself through the Son. How then can calling God “Allah” not lead to anything but confusion—and worse?

          Islam teaches that the doctrine of the Trinity is blasphemous. But the Christian faith is essentially and irreducibly Trinitarian. The Bible reveals that the Father is God, that the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. Jesus is not merely a prophet, as acknowledged by Muslims, He is God in human flesh. This is precisely what Islam rejects.

          The Trinitarian language is the language of the Bible, and it is essential to Christianity. Indeed, the Christian faith points to Christ and announces that we can only know the Father through the Son. Confusing the God of the Bible with Allah of the Quran is not only a mistake, it is a dangerous distortion of the Gospel of Christ.

          The Trinitarian nature of God is embedded within the Great Commission. Jesus tells His disciples to go into the world and make disciples of all nations and to baptize them “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Christians are those who bear the names of God even in our baptism, and those names are Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

          This has become a matter of significant controversy in recent years as some Christians, including some serving with mission agencies, have argued that Christians can use the name “Allah” in talking about God. In some languages, especially those based on an Arabic source, there is no generic word for god. In such a situation, it might be necessary to begin a conversation by using this word, but the Christian cannot continue to call God “Allah.” It is hard to imagine that anyone can hear the name “Allah” without thinking of him as claimed in the Quran (see following article). Indeed, Muslims who speak languages other than Arabic use “Allah” as the name of god. But as soon as the Christian begins to explain that the true living God is the Father of Jesus Christ the Son, the Christian is making clear that the true living God is not Allah, but our Heavenly Father.

          Continuing to use the name “Allah” to refer to the God of the Bible in such situations invites deep confusion. Some now argue that Muslims who come to faith in Christ can even remain within the mosque and continue to worship God as Allah. It is hard to see how that is anything other than a theological disaster.

          We can now see that the name of God is no small matter. The deity we name is the God we believe in. Christians believe in only one God, and He is the Father who sent the Son to save us from our sins. Allah has no son, and, thus, Christians cannot know God as Allah. In this light, Muslims and Christians do not only use different names for God; in reality, these different names refer to different gods.

          God takes His name with great seriousness, and so must we. Thankfully, we are not left in the dark, groping for adequate language. God has revealed His names to us, so that we can rightly know Him. We are not called to be clever or creative in referring to God, only faithful and accurate.

          We are living in challenging days. One of the most pressing challenges of our times is the task of speaking rightly about God. This is particularly challenging when Christians encounter Muslims, but it is also a challenge when Christians encounter secular people in Western cultures. But this really isn’t a new challenge. It was the same challenge faced by the children of Israel as they encountered the Canaanites, and the same challenge faced by the Apostle Paul at Mars Hill.

          Our challenge is to speak truthfully about God, and the only way we can do that is to use the names God gave Himself. The God of the Bible is not Allah, and Allah is not the God of the Bible. Any confusion about that undermines the very Gospel we preach.

          ©2013 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

          Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version.

          R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, KY.

          …..

          and MY personal favorite:

          Nicene Creed

          We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
          the only Son of God,
          eternally begotten of the Father,
          God from God, Light from Light,
          true God from true God,
          begotten, not made,
          of one Being with the Father.
          Through him all things were made.
          For us and for our salvation
          he came down from heaven:
          by the power of the Holy Spirit
          he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
          and was made man.
          For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
          he suffered death and was buried.
          On the third day he rose again
          in accordance with the Scriptures;
          he ascended into heaven
          and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
          He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
          and his kingdom will have no end.

          We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
          who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
          With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
          He has spoken through the Prophets.
          We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
          We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
          We look for the resurrection of the dead,
          and the life of the world to come. Amen.

        • DMJo

          Would you be okay if kids had to bear witness that “Jesus is the only path to God”?

      • maybesbabies

        Jesus is a prominent part of Islam. They believe in the virgin birth as well. You are terribly misinformed about Islam. Allah is the same god as Jehovah. All the Abrahamic religions worship the same god.

    • DMJo

      They should not be forced to say , “Allah is the Only God” or “God is the only God” or “Jesus is the only way to God” or anything that professes belief. That goes beyond teaching.

      • FlaGuy

        I think you misunderstand the difference between forcing them to understand what other cultures believed and forcing them to believe something themselves. I do the former, never the latter.

        • DMJo

          I do understand the difference. The article said the child had to bear witness that “Allah is the only God”. That is not just teaching what other cultures believe; that is forcing them to say something they do not believe and that violates their faith.

          • http://historicstruggle.wordpress.com/ Rob Baker

            Please look up what “bearing witness” means. Identifying it as a tennett of Islam on a worksheet is not bearing witness.

  • maybesbabies

    These parents are doing their children a grave disservice by keeping them ignorant of world history and religions. Ignorance breeds fear and hatred.

  • dogface
  • DMJo

    My question is why do these parents keep their kids in this school?

  • Frank Cuomo

    Remember this when you want your religion taught in schools

  • Steven Lewis

    The ACLU should take this case but they won’t. However the name Allah means God. But that still doesn’t make it right. For example, recently a mother of a Jewish student learned that her son’s school was planning on their annual See Santa field trip, she objected and the school cancelled the trip. So this Jewess used her race/religion and the 1st amendment despite it not being applicable since Congress didn’t arrange this field trip and there is no separation of church and state law in the constitution.

    This anti-white and anti-American Jewess ruined the trip for those elementary school students. Rob Baker is wrong because the minute Christianity is taught the ACLU and the Jews who run it along with the Jews in the ADL, SPLC, and the countless other for Jews only groups would rip the school apart. Learning about other religions should be a choice and not mandatory but only to high school students. The school in this case prohibited students from bringing their textbooks home for one reason and one reason only; they did not want the parents to see.

    And Rob why did you attack disqus_gWdkiydcD2 for copying and pasting information? It appears that comment and others you made were meant to insult people who object to Islam being taught to their children. Students today rarely learn about their own country’s history and if they do the information they’re given is a lie. You should look into the creation of the American Historical Society by Rockefeller and another wealthy family (Morgan or Carnegie?). They selected 20 or 25 history students who they felt would do what they wanted them to do while working for the AHS, which was to rewrite American history (hint: Norman Dodd). I’d copy and paste some information for you but I don’t want you to ruffle your feathers.

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